Raging Angels (1998)
Director: Ricky Lau
Many low-budget Hong Kong action movie releases that came out after the territory's 1997 handover to China have faded into obscurity. There are a myriad number of reasons for this, but it mostly boils down to local audiences were tired of this sort of quick and cheap production, so they bombed at the box office, with perhaps (if one is "lucky") a VCD put out about a week afterwards. Frankly, most of the films in this category probably deserve the perpetual purgatory of obscurity they have been shoved into, but 1998's Raging Angels would most likely be an exception for most fans of the "girls with guns" archetype.
Raging Angels's plot won't win any awards, basically boiling down to a pair of femme fatales (Carrie Ng and Jade Leung) getting revenge on a slimy Triad leader/businessman named Tammy. Yes, Tammy. Obviously, this is another case of having to watch one of these films with craptacular subtitles to try and get through the exposition -- so you will probably want to have one or two (or six) cold adult beverages at your disposal before heading into a viewing of this cinematic no-so-masterpiece.
Anyway, there is a lot of meandering about at points, including a whole subplot with Leung getting sent into prison that comes off as a bit silly and unnecessary, instead of the violent and sexy twist the film-makers probably thought it was supposed to be. But the actors (especially the always dependable Roy Cheung, who loves shaking it up as the villain) take matters seriously, which goes a long way towards making the audience more invested in the proceedings.
The action (helmed by Yuen Bo) is surprisingly well done for a cheapie shot in the Philippines production, making this look way more professional and exciting than the straight to video picture it really is. The last fifteen to twenty minutes is -- pardon the phrase as applied to a "girls with guns" film -- balls to the walls action that is both violent and slick, with Yuen Bo employing some of the stop-printed gimmicks that Sammo Hung used a lot at this point in time, giving Raging Angels a different and more powerful look and feel than many films of its' ilk.
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